SCALLOPS WITH MUSHROOM-GREEN BEAN-KALAMATA BALSAMIC SAUCE

As pricey as scallops are, the recipe had better be good when I plunk down hard-earned money for these delectable treats. Enter mushrooms, green beans, kalamata olives, and balsamic vinegar. Good recipe 🙂

Note: Consider warming oven-safe dinner plates in oven (170 degrees works well) while you’re cooking. It’s very little extra work and prevents the entree from cooling on its journey from kitchen to dining room (no excuse for scarfing down your lovingly prepared creation).

1 lb sea scallops

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp dried minced shallots

1 tsp dried basil

1-1/2 cups fresh green beans, sliced into 1″ pieces

8 oz sliced white mushrooms

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp minced parsley

sea salt

ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees

2) Pat scallops dry (very important for a pretty seared surface)

3) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) in large skillet over medium heat; right before skillet starts smoking, add scallops and cook 1-2 minutes each side; transfer scallops from skillet to oven-safe plate and pop in oven to keep warm

4) To skillet add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil, shallots, and basil; stir; add green beans and cook 2 minutes; add mushrooms and Kalamata olives and cook 3-4 minutes; add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and butter; stirring often, cook 2-3 minutes; stir in parsley and lightly season with salt and pepper; remove from heat

5) Divide scallops between plates and spoon sauce over those lovely little gems; serve immediately

Serves: 4

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BACON-SAGE STUFFED PORK CHOPS WITH MUSHROOMS

In savoring my Bacon Nation cookbook, I came across a recipe for “Saltimbacon” and took the cue to stuff pork chops with bacon and sage. Of course, I had to add cheese. And though I didn’t have fresh shallots, I had dried shallots. And, really, in cooking I can’t tell the difference between Marsala and Marsala cooking wine… This beautiful, tasty, and easy-to-prepare dish is a result of my tweaking. Only one thing: I used 1-1/2″ thick pork chops–a “no-no” that required a major cooking time adjustment, so do NOT go thicker than 1″. Delish!

Bacon-Sage Stuffed Pork Chops with Mushrooms

4 slices bacon

4-1″ thick boneless pork chops, butterflied (NOT over 1″ thick!)

4 slices provolone cheese

4 fresh sage leaves

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried minced shallots (or fresh–probably 1/4 cup)

8 oz mushrooms, sliced thick

1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine

1 cup chicken broth

1) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook 5-6 minutes until just crisp; transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate; cut each slice in half

2) On one side of each butterflied pork chop, place 1 slice provolone cheese, 2 bacon halves, and 1 sage leaf; fold opposite side of pork chop over, enclosing ingredients and pressing down to seal

3) In shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs and flour

4) In large skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil; dredge both sides of pork chops in bread crumb-flour mixture, place in skillet, and cook 4-5 minutes each side until pork is golden brown and just cooked through; transfer pork chops to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm

5) To same skillet over medium heat, add shallots (you may have to add a bit more olive oil); cook shallots 3 minutes, stirring often, until softened and fragrant; add mushrooms, Marsala cooking wine, and chicken broth and cook 3-4 minutes

6) Return pork chops to skillet and spoon sauce over top; cover skillet with lid and cook 3 minutes; remove from heat; place pork chops on plate, spoon sauce over top, and serve

Servings: 4

NOVELIST QUICHE

This recipe started off as Ree Drummond’s Cowgirl Quiche, but veered sharply off the page once I started considering the ingredients and my family’s likes and dislikes. So, I suppose I should claim this recipe as my own. It’s delicious and the texture is wonderful. Enjoy!

Novelist QuicheNovelist Quiche 2

1 deep dish ready-made pie shell (I like Marie Callender’s brand)

8 oz white mushrooms, cleaned, sliced thin, and chopped

5 slices turkey bacon chopped

1 tbsp butter

4 slices thin ham, chopped

1/2 bunch scallions (4-5 stalks), sliced thin

5 eggs

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees; prick pie shell on bottom and sides and bake pie shell 8-10 minutes

2) Spread mushrooms on baking sheet and bake in oven 10-15 minutes until golden brown; remove from oven and set aside

3) While mushrooms are baking, in large skillet over medium-high heat, fry bacon pieces until just beginning to crisp; reduce heat to medium, add butter and, when melted, toss in ham and scallions; cook 4-5 minutes; remove from heat and set aside

4) Add eggs and half-and-half to a medium bowl and whisk to combine; stir in mushrooms, bacon-ham-scallion mixture, Swiss and Mozzarella cheeses, and salt and pepper

5) Pour egg mixture into prepared pie shell; to prevent quiche from getting too brown, loosely place a sheet of aluminum foil over top (I forgot to do this) and bake at 400 degrees 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (if you use aluminum foil, remove during last 10 minutes of baking for a lightly browned top)

6) Allow quiche to set 10 minutes before serving (makes it easier to cut)

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/03/12